10-year-old boy arrested in connection with death of 79-year-old man in Leeds

 

A 10-year-old boy has been arrested over the death of an elderly man who collapsed after an argument in the street.

The pensioner, named as Victor Hepworth, 79, had lived in the area for years, and was known to intervene when people littered. He once stood in the middle of the road to stop a car going the wrong direction down a one-way street.

Mr Hepworth, who was believed to live alone and worked as a volunteer at a local church, was found lying in the street with a head injury in the Harehills area of Leeds shortly after the argument. The police are believed to have been called by local ambulance crew who came to help him. Police said that early post mortem results showed that he did not die from striking his head and that tests were continuing.

The boy was arrested in connection with the death and later bailed, pending further police inquiries. Mr Hepworth lived on a terrace street that backed on to the road where he died, and was described as a being like a grandfather to many of the local children, the Yorkshire Post reported. “He’s a really good guy. He used to play with all the children. I feel really sad,” said one of his neighbours, Krunal Sagathaya.

Mohammed Rauf, a local shop owner, said he was a well-respected local fixture who had been going into his shop for 25 years. “He was a perfect gentleman and he would always stop someone who he saw dropping litter or anything like that and tell them very nicely ‘This is our area, you must keep it clean’,” he said.

“I once saw him walk out into the middle of the road to stop a car going the wrong way down a one-way street. He told them he couldn’t let them break the law and to go back. The young lads in the car said all sorts of very bad words to him but in the end they went back the way they came.”

Mr Hepworth, who is understood to have had a heart condition, was taken to Leeds General Infirmary but was pronounced dead a short time later. A forensic tent was put up at Back Hill Top Avenue, a street of 19th century terrace houses, and the area was cordoned off by police.

“He would go out of his way to help the community,” said Abdul Hannan, whose mother lived in the street. “He would put the bins out, he would pick litter up from the street, he would tell kids to put litter in the bins. He volunteered in the local church – he did that on a regular basis.”

The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years, when children can be arrested, charged and serve time in a young offenders’ institution, if found guilty of any offence.